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Japanese Canadians

Japanese Canadians, or Nikkei (meaning Japanese immigrants and their descendants), are Canadians of Japanese heritage. Japanese people arrived in Canada in two major waves. The first generation of immigrants, called Issei, arrived between 1877 and 1928, and the second after 1967. The 2016 census reported 121,485 people of Japanese origin in Canada, or 0.35 per cent of the Canadian population. The first generations of Japanese Canadians were denied the full rights of citizens, such as the right to vote in provincial and federal elections and to work in certain industries. During the Second World War, the federal government interned and dispossessed over 20,000 Japanese Canadians. Japanese Canadians have settled primarily in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario, and have contributed to every aspect of Canadian society. Well-known Japanese Canadians include novelists Kerri Sakamoto, Aki Shimazaki, Michelle Sagara, Hiromi Goto, Kim Moritsugu and Joy Kogawa, poet Roy Miki, writer Ken Adachi, filmmakers Midi Onodera and Linda Ohama, scientist David Suzuki, public servant Thomas Shoyama, architects Raymond Moriyama and Bruce Kuwabara, community leader Art Miki, judoka Mas Takahashi, and agriculturalist Zenichi Shimbashi. Artists include Takao Tanabe, Miyuki Tanobe, Roy Kiyooka and Kazuo Nakamura. Politicians include Bev Oda, the first Japanese Canadian Member of Parliament and cabinet minister; BC Liberal cabinet minister Naomi Yamamoto; and former Ontario Progressive Conservative cabinet minister David Tsubouchi. Vicky Sunohara was part of the national women’s hockey team that won silver (1998) and gold (2002, 2006) at the Olympic Winter Games. Devin Setoguchi of the Minnesota Wild and AHL players Jon Matsumoto and Raymond Sawada are Japanese Canadian hockey players.

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Internment of Japanese Canadians

The forcible expulsion and confinement of ethnic Japanese during the Second World War represents one of the most tragic sets of events in Canada’s history. Some 22,000 Canadian citizens and residents were taken from their homes on Canada’s West Coast, without any charge or due process, and exiled to remote areas of eastern British Columbia and elsewhere. Ultimately, the Canadian government stripped the Japanese Canadians of their property and pressured them to accept mass deportation after the war ended. These events are popularly known as the Japanese Canadian internment. However, various scholars and activists have challenged this term on the grounds that under international law, internment refers to detention of enemy aliens, whereas most Japanese Canadians were Canadian citizens.

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Japanese Music in Canada

The first Japanese immigrant to Canada arrived in 1877, but it was not until ca 1885 that his countrymen followed his example in any numbers - in the form of a colony of fishermen who worked off the west coast.

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Japanese Gardens in Canada

Of 2 main types of Japanese gardens - dry-landscape or Zen gardens, and stroll gardens - Canadians have commissioned predominantly the latter. Dry-landscape gardens feature raked gravel and rocks symbolizing water and islands.

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Russian Canadians

People from Russia began to arrive in Canada in the late 18th century as fur-hunters and officers with the British Navy. In the 2016 census, 622, 445 Canadians reported being of Russian origin.

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Italian Canadians

Italian Canadians are among the earliest Europeans to have visited and settled the country. The steadiest waves of immigration, however, occurred in the 19th and 20th centuries. Italian Canadians have featured prominently in union organization and business associations. In the 2016 census, just under 1.6 million Canadians reported having Italian origins.

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Icelandic Canadians

Icelanders, coming by way of Greenland, were the first European visitors to what is now Canada. The 2016 Canadian census reported 101,795 people with Icelandic ethnic origins, and 1440 people whose mother tongue was Icelandic.

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Indonesian Canadians

Immigration from Indonesia to Canada began after the Second World War. In the wake of the decolonization process, 300,000 “Indos” (Indische Nederlander), persons of mixed Dutch and Asian ancestry, were repatriated to the Netherlands. Some of them decided to continue their journeys, settling in Australia, the United States and Canada. Throughout the 1960s and early 1970s, political instability also led many Indonesians to immigrate to Canada. According to the 2016 census, 21,395 individuals indicated that they had Indonesian origins. Notable Indonesian Canadians include violin maker Piet Molenaar and Toronto filmmaker Mike Hoolboom.

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Byelorussian Canadians

Byelorussians (Byelarussians, Belarusians) are an eastern Slavic people. From 1922 to 1991 Byelorussia was a constituent republic of the USSR. In the 13th century, Byelorussian lands formed part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.

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Latvian Canadians

Latvia is a small country situated on the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea. It shares borders with Russia, Lithuania, Belarus and Estonia. Established as an independent state after the First World War (WWI), Latvia was occupied by the Soviet Union in 1940, by the Nazis from 1941 to 1944, and then again by the Soviet Union. In 1945, 110 000 Latvians who had fled to western Europe were classified as displaced persons. Of these, 14 911 eventually immigrated to Canada. The 2016 census reported 30, 725 people of Latvian origin in Canada (7040 single and 23, 685 multiple responses).

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Finnish Canadians

Between 1835 and 1865, several hundred immigrants from Finland settled in Alaska (which was part of Russia at that time). Many moved down the coast to British Columbia (see Sointula). Some early Finnish immigrants to Ontario worked on the construction of the first Welland Canal, which was completed in 1829. The 2016 census reported 143, 640 people of Finnish origin in Canada (25, 875 single responses and 117, 765 multiple responses).

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Czech Canadians

Canada is home to the third largest Czech diaspora after the United States and Germany. Today, Czech Canadians form an ethnocultural community with a rich history dating back to the 1880s.

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German Canadians

German Canadians — that is, Canadians who report their ethnic origin as solely or partly from Germany or of German ancestry — are one of Canada's largest ethnic categories of European origin. At the time of the British Conquest of New France, nearly 200 families living in the St. Lawrence Valley were of German origin. British North America, and then Canada, would receive six waves of immigration throughout their history, the most recent of which consisted of displaced people at the end of the Second World War. In the 2016 Canadian Census, 3,322,405 Canadians (nearly 10 per cent of the population) reported German origins, and 404,745 people in the country reported German as their mother tongue. A large proportion of these respondents lived in Ontario or central Canada.

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Malaysian Canadians

Malaysian immigration to Canada is a relatively recent phenomenon. In the 2016 census, 16,920 people declared they were of Malaysian origin. Among these Canadians were actor Osric Chau and writer Madeleine Thien.

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Romanian Canadians

Romania is a country in southeastern Europe. It is bordered by Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Ukraine, Moldova and the Black Sea. The 2016 census reported 235, 050 people of Romanian origin in Canada (96, 910 single and 141, 145 multiple responses).

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Moravian Canadians

Moravians, as commonly used in the English-speaking world, refers to members of the Moravian Church formally known as the Unitas Fratrum (United Brethren).

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Portuguese Canadians

Portuguese explorers were among the first Europeans to lay eyes on what is now Canadian soil. In the 2016 Canadian census, 482, 610 people reported being of Portuguese origin, and 221, 540 people reported having Portuguese as their mother tongue language.

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Polish Canadians

Polish migrants began to arrive in Canada shortly after the First Partition of Poland in the late 1700s. According to the 2016 census, around one million Canadians claim full or partial Polish ancestry, and 191,775 Canadians speak Polish as a mother tongue language.